“Dürrenmatt has a wicked sense of the ridiculous. . . . He combines laughter with a moralist’s outrage at the evil of money and power. He combines a poetic sense of irony with abrasive Brechtian social criticism.” —The Record

“Without a doubt the leading dramatist of the German-speaking world.” —Martin Esslin

“In an age when so much that’s written for the theater seems tentative and small, self-conscious and un-dramatically reflective, Dürrenmatt plays, by comparison, are marked with the grandeur of an almost Jacobean excess. . . . No other contemporary playwright makes us so keenly aware of his presence on the stage.” —Book Week

“Friedrich Dürrenmatt has always been too impulsive for his times but the chaotic world has quickly caught up with him.  That’s why his work will last.” —Peter Brook

“Now, like an avalanche in far-off mountains, comes Friedrich Dürrenmatt, a detective-story writer with a genius for the theater, to give us a new theme, or rather to remind us of an ancient one: justice. . . . His vision is a cold one but pure, and very nearly unique in our day, for in his devotion to the idea of justice he has succeeded in casting across an age committed to false Love the dark shadow of the scales.” —Gore Vidal

“It was once observed by Oscar Wilde that a writer should be able to write anything. . . .  Mr. Dürrenmatt meets Wilde’s requirement. He adopts a manner well liked by some of our better writers, that of a Roman of the later Empire, a golden weariness. Mr. Dürrenmatt chooses compression of style and strictness of form, but the late Imperial feeling is still there.” —Saul Bellow

“Dürrenmatt was addressing the real crowd assembled in real theaters with all their swiftly changing feelings, their ignorance, bad habits and vaulting possibilities. . . .  At the same time he was a philosopher-poet with one eye on the picture of the real, on artifice, and on the long preoccupations of philosophy and art through the ages.” —Arthur Miller

“Dürrenmatt plays on our nerves and through them reaches our brains, using the techniques of detectives fiction to convey an apocalyptic message: the effect of a Hitchcock turned prophet.” —Kennth Tynan

“The thing to understand about Friedrich Dürrenmatt is that his tales are pretty and queer Swiss clocks. There are no mechanical mysteries or flaws. The intricately twinkling, twitching works can be admired through cases of glass, and they make little dolls act out jerky little scenes of human love and greed and stupidity and murder and politics and hope. The dolls are frankly dolls, doing what the machinery says they must. There is one human soul at which to marvel—the soul of the inventor.” —Kurt Vonnegut

“Friedrich Dürrenmatt . . .  was one of the giants of this, or any, century. As more of his vast body of work—plays, novels, stories, drawings, and personal, critical, political and philosophical essays—become available again in more and better translations, the Anglo-American world will share in the grief of losing him—even while taking comfort in the joy of discovering him.” —John Simon


The Schiller Prize (1959)
New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Foreign Play for The Visit
Austrian State Prize (1984)
Büchner Prize (1986)